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Welcome Home: Twins Take First of Three Key Games

Dan WadeSenior Analyst ISeptember 23, 2008

One team hit six extra base hits, including three bombs. The other just one.

The Twins' top 4 hitters went 2-17.

The Twins' bullpen gave up runs late in the game once again.

Given those three facts, the 9-3 result isn't a shock, what is shocking is that the race for the division is now closer, not further away.

 

The Twins rode three home runs, two by Jason Kubel, a controversial selection by Ron Gardenhire, and another by Delmon Young to a resounding 9-3 win under Teflon skies. The Twins hit Javier Vasquez and the rest of the Sox pitchers hard, harder than they hit anyone on their 10-game roadtrip, but they also played the smallball style that drives Ozzie Guillen crazy as well as they've played all season.

The Twins stole bases and executed a perfect suicide squeeze in the fourth inning, but it was all more than they would need. Scott Baker gave up just one run in his seven innings of work. He struck out just 4, but he also kept the Sox off of the bases, or pitched well out of danger. Matt Guerrier gave up a late home run to Ken Griffey Jr., but the game was long in the books before then.

As nice as this win was, it was just the first of three critical games. The question which rises from a win like this is: Will the Sox come out like a team possessed tomorrow, trying to make up for such a lopsided loss, or will they begin to second guess their ability to win in the Dome?

In the end, only one thing results from this game and that is the fact that the Sox can no longer clinch the division in this series. Everything else remains contingent on how the rest of the series plays out. Nevertheless, this was a huge win for the Twins and sets the stage for another key matchup tomorrow night between Nick Blackburn and Mark Buehrle.

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